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Employment

Equal opportunity law applies to full time, part time, casual, contract and voluntary work. It covers all stages of employment, from job advertisements, applications and offers of employment to promotions, training, transfers and dismissal.

Casual shop assistant has hours cut because of age and marital status

Karla, a woman in her forties, worked as a casual shop assistant at a bakery for about 5 years.  She noticed that her hours had decreased in the last 12 months, down to only 3-6 hours in some weeks.  Karla was told by her employer that her hours had been reduced because, "your partner works fulltime therefore you don't need to work".

Outcome: 
At conciliation, the owners provided a verbal apology to Karla and made a payment of $3000 for financial compensation.

Supervisor asks staff for sexual favours

Bashir and Mahdi worked as sorters in a metropolitan vegetable packing company.  They said that Danny, their supervisor, made requests for sexual favours from both of them on several occasions.  As a result of rejecting his advances, they were given "the worst jobs".  Danny also brought up the colour of their skin, calling them "black charcoal".

Outcome: 
The complaint was conciliated for both men. The company agreed to send Danny and other relevant staff to a Commission training session on Discrimination and Harassment, ensuring they would provide oral feedback regarding the training to the owner and manager. The company also paid each man $3,000 – and Danny paid them $1,500 – for injury to feeling.

Patisserie manager sexually harassed by owner

Tammy managed a northern metropolitan patisserie.  She alleged that she was sexually harassed by the owner, Luke.  She also said that other workers had approached her, as manager of the store, to complain about sexual harassment by Luke.  Tammy said that she was then dismissed as a result of raising staff allegations and complaints of sexual harassment with Luke.

She made a complaint of sexual harassment and victimisation.

Outcome: 
At conciliation, Luke agreed to provide Tammy with a certificate of service, attend a half-day 'Discrimination and Harassment' course at the Equal Opportunity Commission, and pay Tammy $850.

1 New Message: "ur txts r offensive"

Pauline began work as a receptionist with a small metropolitan company.  Within a month of starting there, Darren, the manager, began to send her sms messages such as, "masturbating will send u blind they say. maybe thats why i cant see properly sometimes" and "ur cute! im all for u".

Pauline complained to Darren and asked him to stop.  After this, she was sacked and given one week's wages.  Pauline then made a complaint of sexual harassment.

Outcome: 
The complaint was settled at conciliation with Darren giving Pauline a letter of apology and paying her $4,500 compensation. He also agreed to attend equal opportunity training.

Manager makes sexual advances and oversteps the mark

Deb worked in a regional supermarket.  She alleged that her manager, Nina, made approaches of a sexual nature to her.  For example, she was sitting on a chair with her arms crossed and Nina attempted to pry her arms apart.  On the same evening, Nina bought Deb drinks at a nearby hotel, and when she took her home she kissed Deb on the lips.  Later, Nina gave her a letter, which said that she drove her crazy, that she thinks of her, she is in her dreams, and wants to kiss her.

Outcome: 
At conciliation, both matters were settled. Nina provided Deb with a private written apology. As well as this, the supermarket's management committed to address Deb's further complaint of victimisation by two other employees arising from her complaint of sexual harassment, and to appoint her as Night-fill Manager.

Claims of unwanted touching and hugging denied

Lynette alleged that Settimo, the manager/owner of the small metropolitan food retailer she worked for, touched her hair, hugged her and repeatedly made comments of a sexual nature.

In response to her complaint of sexual harassment and sex discrimination with the Commission, Settimo wholly denied the allegations of discrimination and sexual harassment, describing them as "totally baseless".

Outcome: 
At conciliation, Settimo agreed to pay Lynette $1,000 for injury to her feelings.

16 year old sexually harassed in her first job

Pam's first job at sixteen was working at a regional petrol station and diner. However, Eddie, the manager, kept making inappropriate comments to her. He left personal notes in her pay packets, and it escalated when he said, "You're killin' me but I'm trying to leave you alone".

Outcome: 
The complaint was conciliated, with Eddie providing a signed written apology and a written reference outlining her length of service with the company, her duties and work competency. He also agreed to seek no future contact with Pam. The business owners undertook to send Eddie to a 'Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace' training session, as well as pay Pam $500 for injury to feeling. Further, both parties agreed to refrain from making adverse comments about the other party to any third party, including current employees of the petrol station.

Female farm worker taunted and harassed

Paulina worked in a regional vegetable grower and processor, and was the only woman in the sorting shed.  One man in particular, Matthew, subjected Paulina to sexist and derogatory comments.  She spoke to the Farm Manager about Matthew's behaviour, asking for a transfer to another section of the company.  The manager refused, so she resigned.

Outcome: 
At conciliation, the company agreed to distribute the relevant sections of its occupational Health and Safety policy and information on Equal Opportunity to all staff, and advise them of the importance of reading and abiding by the materials, to direct Matthew to attend a course on discrimination and harassment at the Equal Opportunity Commission, and to provide a written summary of the course afterwards and that Matthew would provide a handwritten apology to Paulina, and publish an apology for any hurt, distress or humiliation, in the Public Notices section of the local newspaper.

Cafe worker's shifts stop after telling her boss she was pregnant

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Kimberley worked in a suburban café.  She was suddenly not given any more shifts after she advised Arthur, the café owner, that she was pregnant.

In response to her complaint of pregnancy discrimination, Arthur told the Commission that no further casual work was offered to Kimberley due to her unsatisfactory work performance.

Outcome: 
Following conciliation, Arthur provided her with an apology in writing and agreed to implement policies in relation to pregnant workers, and paid Kimberley $2,000.

Casual employee dismissed two days after notifying she was pregnant

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May was a casual employee at a metropolitan health food shop.  She told her manager, Zhen, that she was pregnant, and within two days she was dismissed.  May told Zhen that she couldn't dismiss her because she was pregnant, but she said that the reason for her dismissal was that they couldn't afford to keep employing her.  However, four weeks later the shop employed another casual staff member.

Outcome: 
At conciliation, Zhen agreed to provide May with a work reference.